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Newsline

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  PBS    Newsline    News/Business. World events, business news and  
   weather forecasts; broadcast in English. (CC) (Stereo)  

    February 13, 2013
    7:00 - 7:30pm PST  

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glad you could join us on this edition of "newsline." it's thursday, february 14th. i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. japan's gross domestic product for the final quarter of 2012 shrank slightly in the october to december period. this is the third straight quarter of contraction. gdp fell 1.4%. the pace of decline was more moderate than the previous period when it was minus 3.8%. global demand was dragging down the economy. capital spending went down
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housing investment showed growth of 3.5%. consumer spending was up due to strong sales of winter clother. overall gdp rose 1.9% for the previous year. that's the first growth in two years. investors have been tracking the data. who has the upper hand? >> i would have said the buyers but it's a mixed picture here in japan. the nikkei is trading slightly higher. 11,255. up 0.03% from wednesday ease close. exports related stocks are getting a lift. some expect the yen will stay on a declining trend for the time being. others are selling recent gainers to lock in profits. that's after news the economy shrank in the fourth quarter and
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this is what many of the market had been forecasting. the dollar is moving in a narrow range. participants are waiting for the outcome of the bank of japan's policy meeting later in the day. the against the yen is 93.28. in other markets, south korea's kospi is trading higher by tenth of a percent. u.s. president barack obama nominee for secretary of the treasurely is asking lawmakers for bipartisan report. he said this is needed to keep the u.s. economy on the path to
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recovery. lew spoke to senators on wednesday. he is seeking their approval for his appoint to obama's second term cabinet. he said he's resolved to reduce the nation's huge budget deficit. he asked republicans and democrats to work together. >> we must put our nation back on a path of fiscal sustainability. we cannot allow the harmful cuts known as the sequester to go into effect. these cuts would impose inflected wounds to the recov y recovery. the strong dollar is in the best interest of promoting u.s.
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growth. if confirmed i would not change ta policy. >> officials in the u.s. will start talk to form a transatlantic free trade agreement. it would create a huge trade block and account for nearly all of global production. the plan was announced in a joint statement on wednesday. they have agreed to launch negotiations for a comprehensive plan. the united states will seem approval from congress while the eu council takes the next steps in its process. both sides aim to launch official negotiations this summer. the biggest obstacle is deferring regulations on beef. the eu has stricter safe rules
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than the u.s. he's heading a delegation from the european parliament. the delegates will be meeting with japanese lawmakers to discuss the planned partnership. >> it's good for japan. it's good for european union. i expect trade talks will produce talks in one or two years. >> negotiations are likely to begin in march. that's the latest in business for this hour. here is a check on regional markets.
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south korea's elect says he may revise how park geun-hye says she may revise how she deals with north korea from the start. her political platform includes building better relations. >> translator: the north should understand that with any further provocation we will no longer be able to have a dialogue even if we want to. >> park spoke to a transition committee who are working on
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other foreign relation matters. she says the test shows the difficulty of building trust and peace on the korean peninsula. she says she want to spare south koreans from any further anxiety. u.s. secretary of state john kerry says world leaders have to mount response. they need to show they are serious about maintaining nuclear arms. >> north korea's missile program are a threat now to the united states of america because of what they are pursuing specifically as well as to global expert and peace. >> kerry said he's concerned about the nuclear program in iran. he said officials have cooperated on nuclear development. the international community must react with a swift and clear
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action. he said he's pushing for new sanctions at the united nation security council. officials are concerned about iran too. they failed to get access to a military facility. they expect scientists are working to develop nuclear weapons. iae director traveled to iran to meet officials. they have been trying to inspect the parching complex. iranian officials have denied the request. scientists have accelerated the process of enriching uranium. there's a new type of centerfuge
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in the facility. beyond that point scientists can move quickly towards uranium that's weapons grade. representatives of six countries including the u.s. and russia are expected to resume talks with iranian officials later this month. those negotiations have been stalled for eight months. pope benedict xvi has made his first appearance since announcing he will resign. thousands of faithful welcomed the 85-year-old has he entered saint peter basilica.
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he will be the first to resign in nearly 600 years. he'll give his final audience on february 27th, one die before he steps down. they're preparing to hold a conclave in mid-march. a section of roof at the chernobyl nuclear complex has collapsed, prompting workers to evacuate. ukrainian authorities say no one was injured. and they say there were no leaks of radiation. officials say a 600 square-meter section partially covered the turbine hall. workers built it after the nuclear disaster in 1986. it gave way under the weight of heavy snow. contractors are building a new protective structure to cover the number 4 reactor, about 150 meters away. foremen for a french
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construction company pulled out 80 workers as a precaution. experts are concerned the concrete and metal structure built after the disaster is too old to contain the radiation inside the reactor. people from japan are getting a chance to conduct a more thorough search for japanese war dead with the opening up of myanmar. the remains of about 45,000 soldiers are still believed to be in the northern part of the country. officials from a japanese humanitarian aid group and myanmar's ethnic minorities have met in chiang mai, northern thailand. the two sides have agreed to jointly collect information on places that might hold the remains of japanese troops. they'll also investigate whether the soldiers left families in the country. >> translator: we hope to retrieve the remains of the japanese war dead as soon as possible. with the assistance of people in myanmar. >> it's estimated that as many as 137,000 japanese soldiers
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died in the area during a military campaign in 1944 targeting british strongholds in neighboring india. a long-running civil war between myanmar's previous military government and ethnic minorities has restricted access to most of the former battle zones. japan's meteorological agency has developed a new alert system to warn of tsunami after very powerful earthquakes. the news comes before the second anniversary of the quake and tsunami that devastated northeastern japan. the magnitude 9 earthquake on march 11, 2011 was initially estimated at just 7.9. the agency then issued alerts for tsunamis that proved far smaller than those that pummeled the area. that warning system was designed to issue tsunami alerts three minutes after quakes of up to around magnitude 8. the new system can detect magnitude 8 or stronger earthquakes. the agency will now be able to issue warnings for massive
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tsunami and urge evacuation without saying how big they might be. >> translator: we want to keep improving the system so that we can issue useful and reliable alerts. >> the system will go into operation on march 7th. patients with spinal cord injuries typically lose movement in their lower body. and they must resign themselves to possibly never walking again. but a group of japanese researchers has made advances in repairing damaged spinal cords. and they say it might mean paraplegics will walk again. nhk world reports. >> reporter: nozawa lost all movement in his lower body 13 years ago. but the 39-year-old keeps a
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positive attitude about being able to work again. >> translator: i sense that i'm gradually able to apply strength to my legs. i'm really surprised. >> reporter: nozawa used to be physically active. he loved sports, especially karate. but it all came to an abrupt end. at the age of 26 he was injured in a motorcycle accident that ruptured his spinal cord. >> translator: i couldn't walk. i couldn't eliminate waste. i couldn't feel anything, even hot objects or when my legs hit something. how was i to live using just my upper body? >> reporter: but nozawa's outlook began to improve after he heard about research at osaka
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university hospital into regenerating injured spinal cords through transplant surgery. so he decided to have the operation. it's the first of its kind in japan. and it's performed by dr. koichi watsuki. the team operated on their patient for eight hours. they transplanted the main vein from his nostril. it was grafted near the damaged area on nozawa's spine. this tissue regenerated the nerves. when transplanted to a damaged spinal cord, it helped stretch severed nerves and reconnect them. experts say patients under the age of 40 have a higher chance of success. before the operation nozawa couldn't sense electrical signals from his brain to his
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lower body. but the surgery helped to reconnect the nerves, so the signals could get through. >> translator: it's amazing. >> translator: the injury was more than a decade ago. >> translator: i hope that many patients will feel the joy of standing on their feet and walking again. the prospects look good. i consider this a major step forward. >> reporter: even though the operation was successful, it doesn't mean nozawa can walk right away. he must undergo special rehabilitation. it's a new kind developed by the medical staff at the university of tsukuba. first the patient focuses on his needs, imagining he's moving them. he tries to send electrical signals to his leg muscles. but at this stage the signals
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are quite weak. so to boost them he relies on a machine. the robotic device helps nozawa perform the desired bending and stretching. as well as using the robotic attachment, nozawa tries to move forward on his own. >> translator: the signals are still weak, but they do reach his legs when he tries to move them. he's starting from scratch, learning how to move again. he's trying his best. >> translator: i still have a long way to go but i think i'm getting closer to my goal. >> reporter: and that goal is to get around with the help of walking sticks by the spring.
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the new treatment devised in japan gives people like nozawa plenty to look forward to. kiyoshi kasai, nhk world. >> three other patients have had similar transplants at the osaka university hospital. doctors say all have shown some improvement. 40 others are on the waiting list. but to treat patients from around the country more rehabilitation centers are needed. and the amount of time and money spent on rehab will have to be reduced. japanese have no shortage of traditions. they pass them along from generation to generation. but some customs fade away. that happened to one in western japan that involved straw
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horses, sweets, and ice cold water. but a group of residents managed to pull off a revival. >> reporter: they call the custom torohei. quietly, youngsters arrive with good luck charms. after leaving the two small horses, the children hide. the grown-ups take the small horse and leave sweets. too tempting to ignore. but the adults were ready for the kids. it's said the water makes children strong and healthy. in the chigoku region people took part in the tradition until about the 1930s. then it began to fade. in inancho they did away with it eight years ago.
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takashi ishikawa works at the community center. he persuaded the locals to revive torohei. >> translator: if people don't take part, torohei will die out. if that should happen, well, the only place we'll find it is in books. >> translator: this straw horse is a god. so it belongs on the family altar. >> reporter: they say straw horses protect a household all year. >> translator: if the straw horses stopped coming, it would be sad. if they do come, we're good for another year until the next ones come. >> reporter: the youngsters learn how to make the horses. >> translator: i hope people who receive the horses believe they'll have good health all year. >> reporter: it takes two hours of hard work to make a horse. tonight is the night.
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the children wear ski clothing so they won't get too wet. >> translator: i want to dodge the water. >> translator: i'll be embarrassed if i get dunked and laughed at. >> reporter: and what are the adults up to? >> translator: i'm going to drench the kids today. >> reporter: the youngsters begin the torohei. the straw horses are left with care. and the adults leave sweets. they coordinate their timing for pouring water. the candies tempt the children. as the children size up their bounty --
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the adults strike. joyous whoops shatter the evening quiet. >> translator: it's fun because it's a little scary. >> translator: this was my first time, and i'd like to do it again. >> translator: i hope the children will remember tonight's fun after they've grown up. wouldn't it be wonderful if they could pass this tradition onto their children? >> reporter: torohei has come back. and once a year the village will echo with the joyous sounds of children. all right. well, children in tokyo are starting their day under fair skies. sayaka mori joins us now with
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world weather. >> tokyo is seeing another dry day with seasonal temperatures with a high of 10 degrees expected today. things are going to change as a new system is coming in from the west. we have an area of rain over southern china. that will be intensifying and head towards the east like the one we saw yesterday. inland snow is likely across much of japan and also coastal rain showers. rain is also pounding western japan as well. out towards the west and dry km conditions. to the north the philippines will be scattered with thunderstorms. temperatures are looking like this. seasonally high in bangkok. 21 in hong kong with rain showers still warming up to 5 degrees. quite seasonal temperatures and
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tokyo at 10 degrees. that's about two degrees cooler than today. looking up in the deep south. the drier conditions are on the cars for you but the low pressure system is moving along the eastern seaboard producing rain and snow showers. by thursday your valentine's day conditions will be improved. unfortunately, couples in the florida peninsula may have to stay inside because stormy weather will continue to batter this area into your saturday. up towards the north blowing snow conditions are moving into the great lakes region. up to 20 centimeters is likely. the next pacific system is moving into the west coast of the british columbia. vancouver will see heavy rain showers. temperatures will be quite seasonal at 7 degrees on thursday. very chilly minus 13 in
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winnipeg. that's about 5 degrees cooler than where it should be this time of year. 4 degrees in chicago and very hot down toward the south. 27 in miami. plenty of sunshine for youn finall in europe a msive cloud mass is moving across the british isles. winds of over 70 kilometers have been reported in some locations. the good news is that the severe weather is tapering off. conditions will improve on your thursday. some of the precipitation will move into the western continent. severe weather is still with you affecting the southeast. you can see the system slowly make its way toward the east. l italy is getting drier. western turkey will see stormy conditions on thursday. temperatures are as follows, very warm for this time of year.
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london at 10 degrees. that's about 7 degrees warmer than what we saw yesterday. meanwhile staying in the double digits across the mediterranean countries. that's it r now. up next is your three-day forecast. ♪
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♪ that's all for this edition of "newsline." i'm catherine kobayashi in tokyo. do stay with us.

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